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How did samurai armour and weaponry develop during this period?

Samurai armour and weaponry evolved significantly during the feudal period, adapting to changing warfare tactics and technological advancements.

During the early feudal period, samurai armour was heavily influenced by Chinese and Korean designs. The early samurai wore a type of armour known as 'yoroi', which was heavy and designed for mounted combat. It was made of small individual scales known as 'kozane', which were made from leather or iron, and laced together with silk cords to form a flexible, protective covering. The helmet, or 'kabuto', was an important part of the armour, often adorned with crests or 'maedate' to signify the wearer's rank or clan.

However, as warfare tactics shifted from individual combat to mass infantry tactics during the late feudal period, the samurai armour also had to adapt. The 'yoroi' was replaced by the lighter, more flexible 'tosei-gusoku' or 'modern armour'. This armour was made of larger, flat iron plates rather than small scales, providing better protection against firearms, which were becoming increasingly prevalent on the battlefield.

Samurai weaponry also evolved during this period. The early samurai primarily used longbows, known as 'yumi', and large curved swords, or 'tachi'. However, as the nature of warfare changed, so did the samurai's choice of weapons. The 'tachi' was gradually replaced by the 'katana', a shorter, more curved sword that was easier to use in close combat. The 'yari', or spear, also became a popular weapon due to its versatility and effectiveness against cavalry.

The introduction of firearms to Japan in the 16th century, brought by Portuguese traders, had a profound impact on samurai warfare. The 'tanegashima', a type of matchlock gun, was quickly adopted by the samurai and led to significant changes in battle tactics and armour design. Despite this, the samurai continued to value their traditional weapons, and the sword remained a symbol of the samurai's status and spirit.

In conclusion, the development of samurai armour and weaponry during the feudal period was a response to changing warfare tactics and technological advancements. The samurai adapted their equipment to meet these challenges, while maintaining their unique warrior ethos and traditions.

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